The number you see when you step on the scale is more than just your body weight. It’s a complex combination of factors, from your genetic makeup and age to your dietary habits and level of physical activity.
It’s true that eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are essential components of managing your weight, but these aren’t the only factors at work. Hormones play a significant role too, and a hormonal imbalance can seriously impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight.
At Endocrine Associates of West Village, we understand how frustrating it is to try and fail to lose extra pounds. We specialize in hormonal health and weight management, and we can help you find a path to better health.
Read on to learn how your hormones affect weight management and what you can do about it.
Hormonal imbalance can trigger weight problems
Several hormones directly influence your appetite, metabolism, and digestive process. When these hormones are balanced, your body uses energy from food efficiently, and it’s easier to maintain weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising.
But if any of these hormones are out of balance, they can cause weight gain or make it hard to lose weight — even if you’re doing all the right things to shed those extra pounds.
Insulin is a hormone that influences how your body converts food into energy. Insulin resistance means your body can’t effectively use insulin. Being insulin resistant increases your risk of obesity and diabetes.
Ghrelin and leptin
When you’re hungry, ghrelin is the hormone that gives that signal. Low ghrelin levels can make you feel hungrier more often than you really are and contribute to overeating.
Leptin is the opposite: it tells you when you’re full and controls your appetite. High levels of leptin resistance can increase your appetite and lead to overeating.
Your thyroid is a small gland that releases hormones to regulate your metabolism. Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) means your thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones. It slows your metabolism and often causes weight gain.
Cortisol, commonly called the stress hormone, rises when you’re under stress. It elevates your heart rate and energy levels. While this response is critical in dangerous situations, chronic high cortisol can cause health issues like weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
Estrogen and testosterone
Hormones differ for females and males: the primary hormone for women is estrogen and testosterone for men. Sex hormone levels gradually decline with age, and low hormone levels can change body composition. Many people notice symptoms like weight gain and loss of muscle mass, despite a healthy diet and exercise.
What to do about hormonal imbalance and weight problems
A nutritious diet and regular exercise are two essential components of achieving a healthy weight. But if you’re not getting results with diet and exercise alone, you could have a hormonal imbalance.
Hormonal imbalance can make you gain weight or make it hard to lose weight despite your best efforts. Being overweight also increases your risk of hormonal imbalance, and these two factors work together to make weight management even harder.
Struggling to lose weight is frustrating, but treatment can help you achieve success and better health. Our endocrinologists specialize in diagnosing and treating hormonal imbalances. In addition, our practice offers medical weight loss programs.
We review your symptoms, do a physical exam, and order blood work to identify hormonal imbalance or any other condition that could be affecting your weight. Then, we develop a treatment plan to regulate hormone levels.
If you’re trying to lose weight, your hormone treatment plan and weight loss program go hand in hand. We partner with you to create a meal plan, exercise program, and regular health checks you can maintain. We may also prescribe medication or other treatments for your hormonal symptoms.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is possible, and we’re here to help. Contact our team online or call the Endocrine Associates of West Village office nearest you in Long Island City or New York, New York, to set up your first appointment.